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Dr Nicol Thomas


Interrogating Desire in the Sovereign Good of i-jouissance What is the status of desire in a post-capitalist terrain where the will to jouissance of market forces is taken as a ‘norm’? This question is explored via the structural proximity of neurosis and perversion, which both Freud (1910a[1905]) and Lacan (1956) note have a relationship. The psychic structures of neurosis and perversion treat object of the unconscious in different but entwined ways* , which act in relation to lack and, following lack, desire. Whilst neurosis is structured via a question— which indicates that there is lack and/or desire—the perverse structure is characterised by the lack of a question, leaving no room for desire. It can be observed that postcapitalist ideologies and technologies leave no room for a question, a lack, acting on desire in a specific manner. Post-capitalist hegemonic forces can be examined via a reading of perversion in Lacan’s essay ‘Kant with Sade’ (1963). The difference between discourse and ideology can explore this point further by tracing Lacan’s mathemes (1963, 1969), specifically regarding the operation of the object a, which has implications in the relations to desire and lack for both the neurotic and the pervert. Is there a fundamental mistake made by the neurotic who addresses the (lacking) object a when the perverse structure gives easy access to the concrete object a (the fetish) being sold by post-capitalist forces as the answer to all lack? My question seeks to interrogate what is the status of desire for the neurotic who must respond to a potentially perverse culture and civilization.


Nicol Thomas holds a PhD in feminist scholarship and is a Lacanian psychoanalyst in private practice. She is a member of the Australian Centre of Psychoanalysis and works on the editorial team of Analysis: The Journal of the Australian Centre of Psychoanalysis. She also is a member of the Forum of Melbourne: IF-SPLF, and is its current delegate. Her Masters in Psychoanalysis (VU) thesis has just been passed, and her work on desire, discourse and ideology is drawn from this thesis.


References Freud, S 1910a[1905], ‘Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality’ in S Freud 2001, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Volume VII (1901-1905): A Case of Hysteria, Three Essays on Sexuality and Other Works, Vintage, The Hogarth Press, London, pp. 125-231. Lacan, J 1956, ‘Seminar of 19.12.1956: On Analysis as Bundling, and its consequences’ in J Lacan 1956-1957, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan. Book IV: The Object Relation. J-A Miller (ed.), trans. LVA Roche, Unpublished Manuscript, pp. 79-98. * which foreshadows the complex differential between perverse structure and perverse trait.